By Esther Wright
Patricia Narsu Ndanema, Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRCSL) has said that human rights standards in quarantined facilities at Companero Hotel in Rokel and Newton Communities in Freetown are complied with.
The HRCSL on Tuesday 24th March 2020 undertook monitoring visits at both Companero Hotel hosting quarantined persons who had come from countries with more COVID-19 cases. Both buildings of the hotel house 25 and 12 quarantined persons respectively.
Speaking to this Press about the nature of their monitoring, the HRCSL Chairperson said that being in quarantine does not mean that human rights must not be enjoyed. She explained that at Companero Hotel, quarantined persons informed the HRCSL that they have been enjoying their rights to timely and adequate food, drinking and bathing water, daily medical checks by the DHMT Surveillance Officers, access to wifi to facilitate communication and a very clean environment.
The quarantined have been at the Companero Hotel at Rokel since the 18th of March and are to end their quarantine having spent a week at the quarantine center at Lungi. According to the HRCSL Chairperson, they expressed the urgency of receiving their discharge medical certificates on the day of their departure to their final destinations.
Patricia Narsu Ndanema further explained that despite the praises in terms of their accommodation and the dignity bestowed on them as quarantined persons, all 13 persons interviewed at the Companero Hotel at Rokel, expressed concerns over 04 persons who had not completed their quarantine days and taken away from the hotel. “We asked the hotel manager, Mohamed Kargbo about his knowledge. He confirmed that the first two quarantined persons who left were minors without their parents and were taken away by health officers based on documents presented by the surveillance team.”
They were also concerned about the removal of two adults from the same hotel. They were informed that the quarantine guests, who left, did so on the grounds that their homes have been assessed and considered fit for self-quarantine.
The HRCSL however deeply expressed concern over the removal of persons who have not completed their 14 days period in quarantine centers. She added that although Sierra Leone has not recorded a case – a status which the country intends to maintain, Quarantine centers are effective tools for preventing the potential transmission of a disease and therefore becomes prudent that the quarantine days in designated centers are respected for purposes of fairness, non-discrimination and the protection of the right to health and life of non-infected persons.
HRCSL Chairperson said that the 2 quarantined persons from Turkey and 10 Asians at the Companero Hotel, Newton Branch will be completing their period of quarantine soon as informed by the manager. The 12 expressed appreciation for their stay and said they were treated well.
On 17th March 2020, the HRCSL also monitored the quarantine facility at the Lungi International Airport Hotel.